Among 25 Newly Honored US Sounds: 'Purple Rain'

Only-known audio of ex-slaves also joins National Recording Registry
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 23, 2012 10:10 AM CDT
Among 25 Newly Honored US Sounds: 'Purple Rain'
FILE - In this May 21, 2008 file photo, Donna Summer performs during the finale of "American Idol" at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Donna Summer's hit "I Feel Love" is joining The Grateful Dead's famous 1977 Barton Hall concert as sounds of cultural significance, among 25 additions that are being...   (Kevork Djansezian)

America's archived history just got a little noisier: 25 sounds that shaped the American cultural landscape are being inducted into the National Recording Registry. The additions are being announced today by the Library of Congress. Among them:

  • A handful of pop/rock songs: Donna Summer's 1977 hit "I Feel Love" (selected in advance of her death); the Grateful Dead's famous 1977 Barton Hall concert; Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" from 1979; and Prince's "Purple Rain."

  • The only known audio of former slaves who were interviewed in the 1930s.
  • A cylinder from a talking doll created by Thomas Edison in 1888 that is the earliest known commercial sound recording. It was considered unplayable until last year, after new digital mapping tools were used to reveal its sound of a woman singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
  • Leonard Bernstein's conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1943.
  • "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by the Vince Guaraldi Trio from 1970, which introduced millions of people to jazz through the TV soundtrack.
(More National Recording Registry stories.)

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